Washington, DC – Today, the US District Court in Maryland issued a preliminary injunction blocking the implementation of the Administration’s Executive Order 13888 (EO). The executive order allows states and localities to block refugees from being initially resettled in their communities. RCUSA members IRAP, Church World Service, HIAS, and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service challenged the order in court on January 8th, arguing that it is unlawful and is causing ongoing irreparable harm to refugees and the resettlement community.
Since the President issued the EO in September, Americans across the US have spoken out in support of their local resettlement agencies, recognizing the immense social, economic, and cultural contributions their refugee neighbors have brought to their communities.
“RCUSA thanks the bipartisan group of 42 governors and countless municipal governments who have stood in solidarity with the resettlement program. The past weeks have demonstrated the dedication and perseverance of refugees and the communities that welcome them,” said RCUSA Board Chair Scott Roehm, who also serves as the Washington, DC Office Director for the Center for Victims of Torture.
“We welcome this injunction; not only does it uphold federal law, but it serves to protect life-saving refugee resettlement infrastructure across the country and the critical work that facilitates successful refugee integration and strengthening of communities,” said Melanie Nezer, RCUSA Board Member and Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at HIAS.
“We’re grateful for Judge Messitte’s careful consideration and relieved that he has ruled to uphold the system of welcome that has been serving the most vulnerable for decades, and we’re heartened by the outpouring of support from so many governors and local leaders in the last month,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “The Refugee Act of 1980 established a precedent for community engagement and close collaboration with national, state, and local governments on resettlement, and we will continue to faithfully implement that bipartisan legislation.”
“We are overjoyed today for the refugee families we serve and the communities where we work. This injunction makes it clear that this executive order is unlawful and designed to dismantle the successful public-private partnership that our organizations have operated for decades. We are grateful for the support that leaders across the nation have shown for refugee resettlement and that we will be able to continue to serve refugee families wherever they live,” said CWS Senior Vice President Erol Kekic.
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